Impact of probiotics on metabolic health in women with gestational diabetes
In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral concurrent session at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Diego, researchers will report on the effect of a probiotic capsule intervention on maternal metabolic parameters and pregnancy outcomes among women with gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is among the most frequent metabolic complications of pregnancy. Research into new therapies for glucose control may be of significant benefit for future GDM management. Probiotics (live microorganisms that may confer a health benefit on the host), potentially represent a new and novel mechanism for influencing metabolic health during pregnancy. Only three randomized controlled trials to date have directly investigated the glycemic effects of probiotics in pregnancy, but none specifically investigated the effects among women with GDM.
The study, titled Impact of Probiotics in Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus on Metabolic Health: A Randomized Controlled Trial, investigated the effect of a daily probiotic supplement versus placebo on fasting glucose, other metabolic parameters and pregnancy outcome among women with a new diagnosis of either impaired glucose tolerance or GDM not treated with pharmacologic therapy. The women were given either a daily probiotic (strain Lactobacillus salivarious UCC118) or placebo capsule from GDM diagnosis until delivery. Among 100 women managed with diet and exercise alone, fasting plasma glucose decreased significantly within both the probiotic and placebo group. This was likely due to improved dietary habits following healthy lifestyle advice, which was delivered to all women as part of routine care.
The study concluded that a probiotic capsule intervention among women with abnormal glucose tolerance had no impact on control of sugars. However, a significant reduction of the normal pregnancy-related rise in total and LDL cholesterol compared to placebo was observed.
"This study indicates a potential role in probiotics to improve the metabolic profile of an obstetric group at risk of future metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease," explained Fionnuala McAuliffe, M.D., senior principal investigator, chair and professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University College Dublin. Karen Lindsay, Ph.D., who conducted the research trial will present the study at the SMFM annual meeting.